INDIANAPOLIS – A judge sentenced a man to 15 years in federal prison after he met an Indiana minor on social media and lured her to New Jersey for “illicit sexual purposes.”

Authorities arrested Arnold Castillo in May 2022. According to court documents, he first started communicating with the then-15-year-old girl in February 2022 and later sent her money and gifts. On May 3, Castillo, then 22, convinced the girl to travel from Indiana to New Jersey. He paid an Uber driver to pick her up and take her across state lines.

Investigators used information from social media applications and online retailers to track the girl to an address in Patterson, New Jersey.  On May 11, authorities found the teen at Castillo’s home so she could be reunited with her mother.

Police in New Jersey arrested Castillo on state charges. Federal prosecutors then filed charges against him in the Southern District of Indiana.

A year later, in May 2023, Castillo pleaded guilty to two counts: transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and coercion/enticement of a minor.

On Aug. 25, a judge sentenced Castillo to 180 months (15 years) in federal prison. At the conclusion of his sentence, he’ll be on supervised release for 20 years. Castillo was also ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution to the minor.